Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by bonga77, Feb 6, 2010.
They don't make them like that anymore.
Reason no. 1 Laver is the GOAT--
1. He was very humble, modest and unassuming (when he had every reason to not be)
interesting discussion. thanks all. sweet laver rosewall 1970 dunlop. i can watch them serve all day long...
I couldn't agree more. There are few things in life more energizing than meeting your hero and finding out he's not only not an arrogant jerk, but a truly good man. Rod Laver will always be the greatest of all time in my book.
No one doubts that Laver, Rosewall, Connors and Lendl won at least some big tournaments or that they are great players. My objection is to the argument that the total number of titles won is a major criterion to be used when comparing players' achievements across generations, and that Federer is to be found wanting because he has not won, and most likely will never win, 100 or more titles. In today's game players - male and female - focus on majors and, to a lesser extent, Masters events for men and Tier 1 tournaments for women. The ITF, ATP and WTA are all happy with this situation. That's why Serena Williams - the closest thing to a Federer counterpart in today's WTA - has won "only" 36 titles, but that total includes 12 majors, 10 tier 1 titles and 2 YEC's.
Incidentally, Federer's claims to greatness do not by any means depend exclusively on his number of major titles, or even his performance in majors (winning 11 majors in 4 years, reaching 18 of 19 major finals, 23 consecutive semi final appearances, etc.). He also has 237 consecutive weeks at no. 1 (the record for both male and female players since weekly rankings were introduced in the mid 1970's), as well as Open era record winning streaks on both grass (65 matches) and hard courts (56 matches).
No, it isn't, but nothing that I wrote suggests otherwise. McEnroe was far more consistently successful in 1984 than Wilander in 1988, and his 1984 season ranks with Laver's 1969 and Federer's 2006 as the best of the Open era. But none of this has anything to do with the issue under discussion - the use of number of titles won to compare players across generations.
Traits that will likely never be applied to Federer, as great as he is, except in a sort of Faux pas sense.
Truth be told, Federer doesn't play that many events because he doesn't have to from a financial standpoint. In that regard, he owes Laver et al a cut of everything he wins. If the earnings were constant, adjusted for today's dollars, Federer would have to play every week in "Mickey Mouse" events.
Needless to say I disagree but I'll leave it at that.
Federer doesn't have to play the smaller events and can concentrate on the Grand Slam Tournaments!
Connors, Borg, McEnroe etc regularly missed Grand Slam tournaments in their time (mainly Australian), which they would have won. They are just as great as Federer in my opinion. If they just concentrated on GS's then their numbers would be comparable to Federer. If Federer goes on to win over 20 Grand Slam tournaments after he has retired, then I really will be impressed
Great thread by the way!
And something that hasn't been mentioned, in answer to the question. After winning the Grand Slam in 1969 with his Dunlop Maxply, didn't Laver change to a metal racquet in 1970?
Jimbo333, haven't seen you in this forum for a while. Glad you're back.
I can see what playing so many tournaments back in Laver's time did to the players. The same what it does today, the level of tennis drops off.
There's no way for the players to have that kind of schedule and have time to practice properly to attain a high level of play.
This pretty much agrees with what I see on the old clips, not a high level of play.
I'm not however taking anything away from those players back then, they did the best they could under the circumstances back then.
I've been on holiday in Australia and New Zealand, absolutely amazing!
And got to see Semis, Finals of the Open in Melbourne
Does anyone know when Laver started playing with the metal racquet?
He did switch around that time, at least for a while, as there are photos of him using a metal racquet:shock:
Probably about 1970 as you wrote. I think he used to paint his old wood rackets to make it look like the Chemold Racket. One of the worst rackets ever made and possibly a reason why he lost some majors later in his career.
So did you enjoy the Open? I'm envious.
Laver was before my time. Is it possible that the competition had caught up with him is the reason he can't win another slam? The open era was established, and EVERYONE are allowed to compete in all tournaments, which makes it even tougher to win?
No the man was past his prime even when he won the Grand Slam in 1969. He was 31 that year, old by tennis standards. Even in 1971, at 33 he was able to defeat (in one tournament) Rosewall, Roche, Newcombe, Ashe, Emerson, Taylor, Ralston, Okker. He defeated a few of them more than once in that tournament. In that tournament he won 13 straight without a loss against a Hall of Fame type competition. It probably was the toughest field a player had to play to win a tournament.
In 1970 Laver won more money than anyone and I believe won around 15 tournaments. It was age and some of the boycotts didn't help either. He was more vulnerable to injuries and therefore more vulnerable to upset. Recovery time after a match is longer also for older players.
A lot of it was that he was tired of the grind and training. For the 1973 Davis Cup, the Australian team (players like Rosewall) helped him get back into good tournament shape and the result was he helped Australia win the Davis Cup in 1973. He beat Tom Gorman and destroyed Stan Smith in the final. Laver was 36. He was competitive and continued to win tournaments until his late thirties.
Thanks for that link
It seems I was about right then, as he did indeed start changing racquets in 1970. Although as you say, seemingly soon went back to his Maxply!
I had an amazing time at the Aussie Open
Just a fantastic place to watch tennis, great venue, great fans and great weather! I saw some superb matches and the atmoshere was fantastic at some of them. Was a bit sad for Murray at the end in the final, but he got going too late and Federer did play very well when he needed to. I suppose that's what makes him a true great. Here's one of my many photos!
And here is a more relevant photo to the thread
And one more
^^^^^ Great pictures.
Hey look! It's Rod Laver!
OMG, it's a love fest!
I was also curious b/c for a player who won 4 GS in a row and end up with winning nothing the next year is kind of odd. Not to mention he didn’t make one single final in 1970.
Rosewall was a few years older than him but still continue to win slams afterward.
I've got over 500 others LOL!
So will be sure to show more in various threads here
But that's just one more reason why the players of that day can't be compared to now. They had to do things like that, sign deals to endorse racquets they detested, just to make ends meet. (I do recall someone, a contemporary of Laver's, talking about the day he finally tossed the Chemold aside and insisted he couldn't play with it. That peer also said Laver had played some of the best tennis he'd ever seen with that riveted aluminum piece of junk.) At one time Laver had, I believe, four different racquet deals, depending on what continent he was on. So he had that to deal with, on top of travel that took longer, less availability in terms of training and recovery methods (massage, etc.), and the added pressure of playing as many big money events as he could on top of the majors. I wouldn't say Laver was past his prime at 31, though; you say that rather blithely, because that's how it is now, but there were plenty of top 10 guys in their 30s during the '60s and '70s. He was still top 10 in his mid-thirties.
Thats right, although by 1970 Laver began to decline a bit, especially by losing a bit of his service rhythm, resulting in double faults. You can actually see it even in 1969, when on occasion he could lose his rhythm on his serve. But then he was still able to come back and go on a hot streak. In the 1968 Wimbledon final rounds, he virtually never lost his serve.
Since 1970, Laver played with a Chemold alu racket in the US, with a Donnay Grand Slam wood racket (with a black and white outfit) in Europe, which you see on pictures of the 1970 Wimbledon, and i think elsewhere with a Bancroft racket additionally; and since end 1971 he went back to the painted Dunlop Maxpy. It was the influence of manager Mark McCormack, who managed him since 1969 as his first tennis client, after refusing him in 1968. "The Shark" had earlier managed only golf stars like Palmer and Nicklaus. Later Newcombe and Borg became his clients. They too had multiple racket contracts.
Would you then or anyone else please know what racquet Newcombe used to win the Australian Open in 1975?
I think he used a metal Rawlings Tie-Breaker to win the Australian Open in 1973, but I wondered what he used to win the Australian Open in 1975?
When were those contract disputes? In which some of the pros could not play a few Open slams?
So in Summary....
So in Summary what Grand Slam events did Laver actually enter in the 1970's (say up to and including 1975). Sounds like a majority of them he wasn't available for or was barred from competing.
From 1970 - sound like he was in Wimbledon and the US Open only
From 1971 - sounds like he was in the Australian Open (are you sure about that?) and Wimbledon only
1972 ? 1973 ? 1974? 1975?
Since 1972 he played only at the USO in 1972, 73 and 75. His last majors appearance was at Wim 1977, to honor the centenary Wimbledon.
Part of the answer
If you don't play in the tournaments... it makes it hard to win them....so few grand slam tournaments played
In my view, it's not that surprising.
- Laver was 31, at the end of his prime, when he won his 2nd Grand Slam in 1969. He felt that he had nothing left to prove in the majors, and there may have been some animosity over his being banned for so many years in his prime, although I can't verify that. But, he continued to maintain a winning record in pro events against every other player, and was still regarded as the best player in the world, for the next few years. When the official ATP rankings started in 1973, he was ranked as high as 3, and remained in the top 5 until 1975 - while foregoing the points he would have gained by playing more majors.
- Like all dominant players, there's only so long even the greatest can maintain the kind of mental focus it takes to be the best. For 7-8 years, Laver was the best by a wide margin, in an era full of championship level players, and he did it longer than most. Look at Borg, Sampras and Federer. Because of the mental/emotional demands of the game, IMHO, tennis players burn out quicker than in any other sport. Laver's run on top of the tennis world was among the longest ever.
- I would also proffer, although I can't verify it, that Laver preferred to play the highest paying events in order to make money before he was out of tennis, rather than play for more prestige that he didn't really need.
JMHO, of course!
Also, in 1970 Laver was not allowed to play the AO or the FO.
So with no AO or FO wins, no GS possible.
Money was also a factor.
I believe from 1970-75 Laver only played in 6 majors. After his 1969 French Open win he never played in the event again. He pretty much concentrated on the big money WCT events during those years.
I read this book "My tennis" many times.I lost it , by the way, know where to find it?.And it seems clear to me that the reason Laver was not so competitive is that he wanted to spend time with his family and enjoy tennis just when he played that.It talks a lot about his commitment and maturity as a person.
After you have won the Grand Slam twice, what's the point of a third?
He wanted to make money to help provide security for his family. He wanted to spend time with them, and not be on the road so much.
In other words, he was a grown-up, not a kid!
Just one more reason for admiring the man as much as most of us do. He didn't have the options that guys like Federer and Agassi and Sampras and Nadal have had; he wasn't going to get rich playing the majors. He had to be smart and he had to recognize the times in which he played - so he focused on the bigger paydays so he could spend time with his family and he put his ego (which had to be considerable, considering his achievements) away. I remember chatting with Rocket back in 1997 or thereabouts; he's always been my hero, and, at an adidas event at La Quinta, he came up and introduced himself to me. Rod Laver - THE Rod Laver - came up completely on his own, stuck out his freckly hand, and said, "Hi, I'm Rod Laver." We then stood there and just talked casually for several minutes. Can you imagine Sampras or Agassi doing that? Ever???
Yes, and we´all tennis passionates will be in debt with the compromise and courage of the WCT people, from Lamar Hunt and Al Hill to the players like Laver and Rosewall - among others- who made tennis jump a big leap in terms of audience, colour, world wide expansion and so forth.They were real pioneers and deserved every buck they made ( which, compared to today is just pocket money, anyway)
I think the reason is menthal: to win the GS in 69 was a personal goal, almost an obsessing one because that would be the first " Open Tennis Slam".read his book MY TENNIS and you will see how important it was to him.
After such a success, you tend to relax and let yourself down more and more.He never had the motivation to fight back, and he knew that his best moments had passed away.That is the difference between him and Rosewall, this one had spent quite more years in the pros than laver himself, and badly wanted to increase his GS account, he had an extra motivation that Laver did not have.
Of course, combine it with the will to really make money - WCT Tour- in his last playing years, and the need to be closer to his family.Too much even for such a born tennis killer like him.
Wait a minute here. Didn't someone mentioned the game changed...more power was added to the game and Laver had problem adapting against big hitters?
I don't think it was Laver they wrote about. I think it was John McEnroe.
One of the most surprising things about Laver is that he did not have a big ego. In spite of his achievements, he has remained a humble Aussie: he never inflates his accomplishments, and occasionally will even underestimate them.
Nice try, Trollsky! Getting you and the truth together is like trying to push the wrong sides of 2 magnets together. You are averse to each other.
Man, this guy is so obsessed.Poor Laver, ¿ What wrong has done to him ?
Here's that thread about why Laver did not win another Grand Slam in 1970.
Laver was 32 in 1970. At that age most or all players decine. Laver came to the top later than Rosewall and left it earlier than Muscles. The latter had simply the longer career by far and was able to retain a high standard till 40.
The best proof of greatness are the achievements in majors. Rosewall reached 10 SFs in majors in the 1970s while Laver reached none.
Limpinhitter, Laver was not regarded the best player in the early 1970's.
Laver was not among the top five in 1975.
Laver was not the No. 1 by a wide margin for 7,8 years. In fact he was clearly the N.1 for only 3 years (1967 to 1969). 1964 to 1966 Rosewall was closed-ranked. 1970 Laver and Rosewall were equal.
You once blamed me for pushing Rosewall but what do you do? You push Laver and belittle Rosewall....
It's pretty clear cut he was the top player from 1964-70. Again he knew his time was up sooner or later and since the Grand Slams were all over the place in terms of who could play and who couldn't, and with the general lack of money on offer, he played for the money.
He won 5 Masters equivalents in 1970 and was R/U in another and was easily the biggest money winner. In 1974 he was still good enough to win 2 Masters titles.
Separate names with a comma.